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France Plans to Amend Constitution to Revoke Birthplace Citizenship in Mayotte Amid Social Unrest

French authorities have announced a controversial plan to amend the Constitution to revoke birthplace citizenship on the French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte. This decision comes amidst ongoing social unrest and a migration crisis on the island.

Mayotte, comprising two islands, voted to remain part of France in 1973, unlike neighboring Muslim-majority archipelagoes seeking independence. However, the recent protests and tensions have prompted Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin to propose significant changes to citizenship laws during his visit to the troubled territory.

Under the proposed reform, citizenship would only be granted to individuals born to French parents, effectively ending birthright citizenship on the island. Darmanin cited the need to reduce the attractiveness of Mayotte for prospective immigrants, emphasizing the measure as a radical step to address the challenges faced by the archipelago.

While some local campaigners in Mayotte welcomed the move, it has sparked criticism from various quarters in France. Opposition parties on the left denounced the plan as an attack on French values, arguing against the revision of the constitution. In contrast, political leaders on the right and far-right suggested extending the measure to the entire country.

The proposal has ignited debates across the political spectrum, with concerns raised about its potential impact on French nationality laws. Some critics fear that the reform could pave the way for broader changes in citizenship policies, fundamentally altering the concept of nationality in France.

Mayotte, the country’s poorest department, has been grappling with escalating tensions fueled by a combination of social, economic, and migration-related challenges. Thousands of Comorans migrate to Mayotte annually in search of better living conditions, exacerbating existing issues of poverty, crime, and insecurity on the island.

The decision to amend citizenship laws reflects the French government’s attempts to address the complex issues facing Mayotte. However, it remains to be seen how the proposed reform will be implemented and its broader implications for citizenship policies in France.

As tensions persist and protests continue in Mayotte, the government’s response to the crisis will likely remain a subject of intense scrutiny, both domestically and internationally.

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